BMW i pilots 3D AR experience with Google’s Tango
Customers are able to explore the BMW i3 or i8 using augmented reality
BMW i plans to offer its customers an interactive, 3D augmented reality (AR) experience using Google's AR smartphone, Tango.
With this service, customers can explore the BMW i3 or i8 as a real size interactive visualisation, such as explore the vehicle, opening the boot or doors and even getting "inside" the car to take a closer look at the interior.
Andrea Castronovo, BMW Group vice president, Sales Strategy and Future Retail, said: "Our vehicles are emotional products and to get that emotional feeling, you really need to experience them. In situations where the desired product isn't available on the spot, this visualisation is the next best thing."
Eric Johnsen, head of Business Development for Augmented Reality at Google, said: "The thing that sets Tango apart is the fact that it understands the context of the space that it's in. So the wheels are really on the floor, for example, giving the whole experience a much more realistic feel."
"In our initial tests, we saw people ducking down when they were getting into the car, as if there really were a roof there for them to bang their heads on," Castronovo added. "It's that level of detail which means this technology offers the customers real added value."
The BMW i Visualiser App is the latest service in the BMW Group's Future Retail programme, which began rolling out around three years ago and which has transformed the customers' experience of buying a car. Many significant elements of Future Retail, such as the Product Genius or the Virtual Product Presenter, have set new benchmarks for the industry.
The BMW i Visualiser was designed and developed by Accenture, integrating BMW i picture data of the vehicles into an app which uses Tango technology. In order to keep the user-experience as intuitive and simple as possible, the app is a visualiser instead of a full configurator, where features such as interior and exterior colours or wheel rims can be altered at a touch of the screen. Once the visualisation is complete, the customer can save the data and share it with others, including BMW i sales outlets, via social media, email or QR code.
Once the pilot is successfully completed, it is planned to offer the app on Google Play so that customers with Tango-enabled devices can download it for use any time, any place.
Johnsen added: "We believe that over the next couple of years, the majority of premium Android devices will be Tango-enabled. Augmented reality has such huge potential for retail, we're just getting started."